August 15 (Daily reading: Jeremiah 30-31) [Part Two, A New Relationship] God said when the seventy years in exile were completed, He would take the people back to their homes. “I know the plans that I have for you, plans that will be good for you. They will give you hope for the future.” A time was coming when the relationship with God would change: “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jer. 29:12). They would seek God with all their heart, and they would find Him! Upon their return, “they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them” (Jer. 30:9).
Through this messianic King, God would make a new covenant with the people. When God said He knew the plans He had for them, this was what He was talking about. Chapter 31 revealed this new relationship with God, when He would write His word upon their hearts. He said, “and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (v. 33). This new relationship was based on grace: “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (v. 34). Grace always leads to trust. They would trust God because everyone would know Him, “from the least of them to the greatest of them” (v. 34). Remember what God had said, “Let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me” (Jer. 9:24). Knowing God includes understanding His purposes. Their sin had kept them from knowing and doing His will. The Messiah would be the answer. Through Him, their sins would be forgiven, and God’s purpose would be fulfilled! The letter to the Hebrews ties the new covenant of Jeremiah 31 to Jesus as the mediator of a covenant that is “superior to the old one” (Heb. 8:6, NIV).
– Al Gary